Becoming Sun-Like

“The sun is a great magnet.” So says The Secret Doctrine. To esotericists-in-training the sun is synonymous with the indwelling higher nature, steadily exerting its pull upon the outer form throughout the evolutionary cycle. As consciousness awakens, the sun becomes recognised, first, for its outer physical light and heat-bearing properties which nourish and sustain life on earth. Then, gradually the inner spiritual nature of the sun – “the Heart of the Sun” – becomes known to the aspirant as he begins to respond to its subjective pull: to “the great magnet” of the sun which holds all bodies within its orbit, not only physically but subjectively as well, through its magnetic and radiatory energies which produce friction and awakening consciousness within all forms.

Occultly, it is said that the physical eye came into being in response to the light of the sun, and that the “spiritual eye” – the ajna centre – develops in response to the dawning spiritual sun. This brings to mind the biblical passage: “In that light shall we see Light”, suggestive of a hint about the nature of service of a disciple.

It would seem that we have, each of us, to become sun-like – to become light bearers bringing radiate illumination to the ways of all who live on the earth. Just as the solar orb holds its solar system of planets magnetically within its orbit, so is every human being potentially a radiant sun with solar system, an environment, in need of radiatory light.

This radiation of the disciple cannot be summoned from personality resources; it can never be forced or created. Yet, at a certain stage of spiritual development, it simply is.

Such radiation is an effect of identification, for it is the result of a form’s response to the pull of a greater life and a growing capacity to identify with that life. And in so responding, such identification expands in greater and greater arcs until gradually, ultimately, far distant upon the path, the whole becomes encircled in consciousness.

For the developing disciple, becoming “sun-like” means the capacity to bring radiance to his environment through a growing identification with the essential life within others; with the “imprisoned splendour” of the poet Browning, which awaits release into fuller expression. Such a radiatory life cannot be created nor can it be brought to another; it can only be evoked from every living thing, be it a plant or an animal or a fellow human being, within one’s sphere of influence, bringing all closer to “the Heart of the Sun wherein all things are known and felt, and through which all forms, all beings and all things can be bathed in love”.

“In that light shall we see Light”, the light shared by and belonging to all, though dimmed by the imperfection of evolving forms. It is the mutual recognition of the many points and their joining into subjective inter-relationship, which has created the magnetic aura of the new group of world servers. Through all who identify with this group, seeking to cooperate with its purpose and blending their little points of light, the new group of world servers will fulfil its promise and become the planetary light-bearer of the Aquarian age, the radiant torch to light the way for a needy humanity.

The Beacon – Editorial July/August 1986

The BeaconThe Beacon
A magazine of esoteric philosophy, presenting the principles of the Ageless Wisdom as a contemporary way of life.

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The Etheric Web

The ocean of energies of the etheric plane is, we are informed, in constant circulation, interaction, ceaseless activity and transformation. No doubt, if we had etheric vision we would see a kaleidoscopic interplay of energies of differing hues, potencies and luminosities, all of which are evoked through the minds of greater and lesser beings – spiritual and human. Into this great vortex energies also flow from extra-planetary Sources, from those stupendous illumined Minds that inform planets, solar systems, and constellations, of which very little is known, even to the highest Chohans on the planet. Yet, all these energies impinge upon human consciousness, qualifying life in the three worlds.
The etheric web has been described as that which “makes all relationships possible”. In one sense, the etheric relates the individual to the planet, to the solar system and to the universe. Every form is interrelated and vast streams of energy constantly circulate throughout this universal energy field. These energies galvanize the physical plane into “activity of some kind or another, according to the nature and power of whatever type of energy may be dominating the etheric web at any particular time”.

Whilst the universal implications of this vast energy field are beyond our ken, humanity, nonetheless, has a profound role to play in bringing about the reconstruction of the planetary etheric vehicle. Alice Bailey describes this vehicle as the “energy discharging unit”, and goes on to say that “The fourfold form must assume triangular relation”. A pattern of interrelated triangles is destined to fashion the planetary etheric. Over a period of time, this matrix will become more closely woven into the fabric of the world of form, so that humanity will become increasingly responsive to the subtler impressions. It may be that the proliferation of the communication technologies is one indication that the physical and etheric planes are becoming more closely interrelated. The ability of these new sciences to enable people to communicate with and relate to each other in real time without the impediments of space and time are quite probably a reflection of the roles that telepathy and the intuition will play as the race unfolds.

In the world today the outer form is still largely unable to convey the beauty and the purity of the Aquarian impulse. We are reminded in the Teachings that “all forms exist in order to express truth”. As light and goodwill fuse and blend within the Triangles network, “lighted goodwill” is projected into the world of form. These transformative energies are impressing human minds with the visionary and noble ideas that are instrumental in shaping the “new heaven and the new earth”. A pattern of right relationships to that which is above and to that which is below dawns, heralding the bridging of the inner and outer worlds, so that, ultimately, “the weight of the Will of God may progress unimpeded from point to point, from sphere to sphere and from glory to glory.”

The task of Triangles is to help to bring energies of lighted goodwill into the ocean of the etheric plane, thereby changing the substance of that plane and conditioning the vital bodies of humanity, and creating as a consequence the “new heaven and the new earth”.
For those interested in further information about the Triangles network contact Lucis Trust:

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Letter to Harold

Nighthawks, Translucence and Drift Music by John Foxx and Harold Budd

Dear Harold,

When I was a young boy living in Redfern – a concrete jungle, my grandfather who played piano and other musical instruments and listened to Mozart amongst other classical composers, offered me the opportunity to play the piano. He said that he would give me a shilling for every lesson I attended. I lasted two lessons and never returned to the keyboards. At eight years old the streets had more appeal.

If I have any regrets in life, then not continuing with his lessons is the only one.

Several years ago when I was searching for music to accompany film footage of the tranquil waterways of Kashmir, a friend suggested I listen to “Plateaux of Mirror” an album you made with Brian Eno. After meeting with Brian and showing him a cut of the film sequence with the music from that album he agreed to its usage, saying that he had been approached many times about film scores but had never been asked for release of the more “ambient” music that he and other musicians were collaborating on at the time.

Now, as I sit here writing to you it is misty outside the window and a light rain falls. It is very still and peaceful – “Nighthawks, Translucence and Drift Music” by John Foxx and yourself is playing in the background.

I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks for all the years of beauty shared with your music. It has enhanced my life beyond words. It has contributed to the beauty that surrounds me. I particularly love the space between the notes, it takes me somewhere special as if the music opens the door and then the silence enters me, a place I feel at home. When I listen to your music, in a way it’s almost as if I am playing the piano – everything that I wanted to accomplish in music through the piano is there, although at the time I didn’t realise that. Even though I didn’t continue with those lessons many years ago and my grandfather has long since passed I feel a deep connection and resonance with him and you every time I listen to your music.

Thank you so much. I have no regrets now just an expanded heartfelt love for all things beautiful through your inspiring and uplifting music.

I wish you well,
With love and blessings


Nighthawks, Translucence and Drift Music by John Foxx and Harold Budd
Nighthawks, Translucence and Drift Music by John Foxx and Harold Budd


John Foxx Harold Budd CD coverNighthawks, Translucence and Drift Music by John Foxx and Harold Budd is available at

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Energy follows thought

“As a result of focussed thinking in the heart the spiritual eye opens and becomes the directing agent”
Alice Bailey

Third Eye
The meaning of language – indeed the meaning of a single word – is constantly expanding to embrace the growing diversity of human knowledge and experience. The word “field” for example, has always been able to evoke peaceful images of green pasture land and the familiar sights and sounds of the countryside; but in this scientific age, it may equally lead the imagination into an electromagnetic or quantum field – a world of invisible forces where the mysterious sub-atomic particles pop in and out of existence. Two completely different worlds of imagery, qualities and feelings are evoked by the expanded meaning and evocative power of a single word.

While the physicist knows that a subtler field underlies the illusion of the rustic scene he gazes upon, the esotericist knows that this, in turn, is also an illusion. Underlying both is yet another type of field – one of living qualities. This is the field of the intuition which is accessed through the heart; it is here that a search must be made for what is referred to in the Labours of Hercules as the doe of the intuition – illusive and vanishing at the slightest disturbance from worldly thoughts. To capture the doe is a long and arduous labour of love, but all who search in the silence of the heart may catch the soft echo of distant footsteps, a glimpse of living gold in the depths of the forest night. As the trail is followed with perseverance, the doe reveals itself more frequently until finally it is captured and the hidden realm of the intuition opens up.

Those who have captured the doe and are able to work consciously in the field of the intuition do so through the opened “spiritual eye” which serves as a directing agent under a fundamental occult law; energy follows thought and conforms itself to thought. With deliberation, thought is constructed to embody specific ideas and qualities in line with the Divine Plan and directed to be of service in the world. Even before this eye is opened it is possible to work with this law through the use of the creative imagination. As we learn to think in the heart we will discover that the insights we have there become magnetic and that this magnetism increases the more we brood upon them and visualise their practical application in the world of human affairs.

In the works of Alice Bailey, and other pioneering esoteric thinkers, words are arranged in a specific manner to form a geometry of power that resonates in the mind of the reader. Ordinary words can convey a deeper perspective, for behind them lie the living qualities that are seeking entrance into human consciousness. In this context, the meaning of a word such as, Peace, for example, is transfigured into a point of wilful tension in the head and heart that swings all the three divine aspects – will, love and intelligence – into a simultaneous activity in line with the will of God. At present this may not be more that an interesting concept, but one day the idea lying behind such a word will be as clearly understood and experienced as a field of grass beneath our feet is today.

And so we see the means whereby language can be expanded to embrace not only the growing diversity of human knowledge and experience, but its quality as well. The Ageless Wisdom teachings are written with this in mind and we are asked to think them into the public consciousness and help to evolve a new language of spirit.

All is energy.

We constantly hear about the energy crises and the need for sustainable energy. Yet we forget that everything in the world is energy in manifestation.

The word energy is derived from the Greek energos meaning active. Everything in the physical world, including all human activity, is a result of this vital, dynamic quality of life.

The energy or etheric body.

The entire manifested universe – the cosmos, the solar system, human beings, and the various kingdoms of nature – possesses an energy body. Although this is subtle and intangible, and cannot be seen by the naked eye, it is nevertheless substantial and conditions all outer forms.

While mainstream science rejects the notion of an energy body, there is a momentum within certain scientific circles suggesting the reality of some form of subtle, universal energy field. This is especially noticeable in the networks of scientists working on ideas of an electrical universe, exploring morphic resonance and quantum coherence. Wisdom teachings down the ages affirm that we live within an ocean of energies, and that we ourselves are a finely tuned system of interacting vital forces. Our won energy body is an integral part of the energy body of the planet, which is itself an integral part of the energy body of the solar system.

In esoteric traditions of the West and the East this energy body is often referred to as the etheric body, with networks of centres, or chakras, and subtle pathways of relationship.

The quality and focussing of our thinking conditions the energies flowing into and through our etheric body. As we develop the qualities, for example, of a loving mind, and our thoughts become more potent, the vibrations we put out into the world radiate these qualities with increasing effectiveness.

There is a plan.

The outer world of circumstances and events can be understood as the product of the dominant qualities circulating through the planetary etheric body at any particular period in world history. Ideas that hold the seeds for future world culture and civilisation – such as the idea of wholeness and interdependence sweeping through the etheric body and transforming life in our time – come from the Universal Mind, the Mind of God. They carry the energies of a great design or pattern, a divine plan working out in response to the evolving mind of humanity. During times of transformation creative thinkers register and respond to these vitalized ideas.

All who have developed imaginative and contemplative qualities of mind – and this can be through traditional prayer or meditation practices, or through dedicated study of one of the sciences of the arts – are able to touch and register ideas held in the Mind of God. A sense of future possibilities awakens within them, and their own creative thinking generates energies, which flow through the etheric field, transforming the climate of thought and making fundamental changes in the world possible.

In our time, at the dawning of a new era vivified by the impulse of wholeness, there are more people thinking with creativity and intuitive focus than at any previous time in history. There are also more concentrated fields of group thought than ever before. All who are pondering the vision of wholeness and its application in a multitude of ways form a world group of mind and hearts, a field of potency in the etheric body of humanity.

Although the divine blueprint will always be something of a mystery to us, our deepest conviction is that light is ultimately destined to illumine our minds, love to govern all relationships, and also that the will of God (the will to good) will increasingly guide our human wills. All who truly seek to love and serve humanity and the Earth are cooperating with this ultimate purpose. Those who understand the power of thought have the possibility of playing a particularly creative role.

Christ said, “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he”.


Training for new age discipleship is provided by the Arcane School. The principles of the Ageless Wisdom are presented through esoteric meditation, study and service as a way of life.

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A Birthday Present – Letting Go


One of the most difficult things in life for everyone is learning to let go. When we consider our own lives and the lives of those closest we often observe how clinging causes great disruption and suffering.

Rarely do we realise at the time that another door is on the verge of opening. What is it that stops us from “letting go?” Even though in many cases we intuitively realise that it’s the right thing to do. Perhaps in the burden of our own self-importance it gives meaning to our very existence in being here.

Eventually we realise that there’s nothing really to hang on to as clinging often leads to lost opportunities: the more we hold onto what we believe to be precious, delays what awaits us. With time we realise that and in “letting go” our lives improve enormously – always for the better.

In the Buddhist teachings it is said that clinging brings suffering. The mind grasps hold of what it is we consider to be important at the time – in letting go it doesn’t become less important, it just frees the mind and the suffering, which is often born in the mind.

Recently a friend was given a sky diving ticket for a birthday present. For various reasons time went by until eventually the skydiving company gave her an ultimatum, “use it or lose it”.

On a bright day over Byron Bay we decided to do the jump together – the first for both of us. It would be from 15,000 feet. We would free fall for 10,000 feet at 240 kilometres an hour before the parachute would open. We had three days prior to the jump to consider and reflect on the decision and prepare ourselves mentally for the experience. Certainly it gives vertigo another meaning. Having trust and faith and “letting go” is a profoundly momentous experience, considering the situation.


No one can really prepare you for that moment – that transition from one state of being to the next. However, inevitably, at some point every human being born into this world will be faced with that decision. Once we can actually embrace that then the quality and perfections of life increase enormously. It’s as if the superficial falls away and the real emerges into another state of being.

As we ascended, the coastal town of Byron Bay seemed to disappear into a tiny speck in the distance. We were rising higher, an apprehension existed inside the aircraft as everyone realised the time was approaching, the decision had been made, there was no turning back.

My instructor whispered in my ear that the chute would automatically open at 2000 feet if things went wrong. As if to assure me that all would be OK. He said, “Just enjoy the moment. Things are going to move really quickly.” With three and a half thousand jumps behind him that wasn’t even on my radar. I was ready.

The red light started flashing. The side door was opened, the first diver went, followed closely by the second, I was the third. Sitting on the edge of infinity I closed my eyes and in the briefest moment I felt the rush of air, opened my eyes and was flying in space, completely free – falling in a state of exhilaration, the beauty of the moment was breathtaking. On the other side of the door a new world had opened, the light was incredible, the experience beyond words. In letting go, I was re-born into a state of bliss. It was a great birthday.


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The Voice of The Teacher

Albe with roo
From Sydney Goodwill Newsletter – March

It is spiritual sensitivity that must be cultivated.

Sensitivity to impression involves the engendering of a magnetic aura upon which the highest impression can play.

Dear Friends,

It’s been said so often that life’s crises are also life’s opportunities. We might consider then whether we meet the vicissitudes of life, small or great, as if engaged with opportunities or with annoyances and crises. We’re also often advised to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. So do we constantly do battle with problems or do we put our energy into creating solutions inspired by a new, more positive and empowering vision? How would we respond if asked whether we think our cup is half full or half empty? With a free and enlightened consciousness one might even affirm that “my cup runneth over” [Psalm 23:5]. Whatever forms or formulations prick our attention they are part of a prevailing, impulsing urge to turn around our worldview and all that unfolds through it.

Through the alternative news sources constantly available via internet and mobile access, as well as through the increasing number of offerings by investigative journalists, we find that throughout our world people are deciding that they wish to pursue a better way of living and participating in our planetary life. The shift is happening one by one, community by community. There are many views and visions as to how this might work out but all are being galvanised by a sense of a better, different, more whole and humane mode of living – with ourselves, one another and the natural world. Progress may be hard won at this point in the human journey so long as old modes of organisation are maintained by those who have a stake in them. Existing institutions of government and politics, economics and finance still direct more power and resources to a privileged few and those who strive to join them. And yet more and more of us are “opting out” of that worldview and are pioneering new ways of living together and sharing resources

From small local community initiatives to international movements and even to open rebellions, there is a parting of the ways as the urge to change creates crises, clarifications and new opportunities. Aid programs are emerging which establish self-help initiatives to empower groundswell solutions. Some work for human betterment; some for understanding and support of animals and our relationship with them; some explore a deeper appreciation and nurture of plants; and a growing number research ecologically sustainable ways of interacting with the earth, its mineral riches and water resources, and all the kingdoms depending on them in the great cycle of life. While many are doing battle with problems and crises there are also many pioneers quietly, thoughtfully and bravely changing the way they live and interact with our world. And so a new worldview unfolds through human consciousness.

In this transition time it’s as though there are two layers of consciousness – one in which we find those still identified with and advantaged by the old order (and all the forces associated with it) and another in which an increasing majority are working out a new, more equitable and appreciative way of living (and responding to new incoming inspirational force). Weaving through all these layers there seem to be two trends of complementary focus – one of increasing specialisation as diversification proceeds and another drawn forth by a growing need for a generalist and cross-disciplinary focus to bring meaning, understanding and usefulness to the growing complexity of knowledge. Both trends stimulate and demand an extension of our sensitivity into deeper knowledge and wider contexts of significance and applicability. Knowledge is more freely available and it stretches the imagination and the possibilities of both our worldview and our understanding of ourselves within it.

We are, on the whole, becoming more aware of, more sensitive to, each other and to our world. This growing sensitivity is enabling the unfoldment of the new world and the new civilisation. The coming culture of the soul will eventually manifest through our attune-ment with each other, other kingdoms in nature, other dimensions of being, and with Life’s purpose reflecting through all. Might we imagine a future time when we are so sensitised to everything in the natural world and to the intentional living of our Planetary Being that we won’t need rules, regulations, laws and commandments imposed to order our living? Instead everything will flow automatically through an appreciative, shared knowing.

The Tibetan Master writes of the role of human sensitivity:

“The outstanding characteristic of humanity is intelligent sensitivity to impression. Ponder on this definite and emphatic statement. The work of science is, after all, simply the development of the knowledge of substance and of form; this knowledge will make it possible for humanity eventually to act as the major impressing agent in relation to the three subhuman kingdoms in nature; that is humanity’s primary responsibility. This work of relationship is practically the work of developing or the mode of unfoldment of human sensitivity.” [Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, page 128]

“I refer to the capacity whereby you are enabled to expand your consciousness so that you become aware of ever- widening ranges of contact. I refer to the ability to be alive, alert, keen to recognise relationships, quick to react to need, mentally, emotionally and physically attentive to life and rapidly developing the power to observe upon all three planes in the three worlds simultaneously… [and also] alertness to soul contact, impressionability to the ‘voice of the Teacher,’ an aliveness to the impact of new ideas and to the delicacy of intuitional responsiveness. These are ever the hallmark of the true disciple. It is spiritual sensitivity which must be cultivated.” [Discipleship in the New Age I, p47]

“Gradually, as the disciple acquires true freedom of thought and the power to be receptive to the impression of the abstract mind, he creates for himself a reservoir of thought which becomes available at need for the helping of other people and for the necessities of his growing world service…. Later, he becomes sensitive to impression from the [Spiritual] Hierarchy… by the time the disciple is a Master; the Plan is then the dynamic substance providing the content of the reservoir of thought upon which he can draw. This is a statement of unique and unusual importance. Later still, he becomes sensitive to impression from Shamballa [the centre where the Will of God is known], and the quality of the Will which implements planetary Purpose is added to the content of his available knowledge.
… [There is]… a growing reservoir of thought which the disciple has created in response to the many varying impressions to which he is becoming increasingly sensitive; the ideas, concepts and spiritual objectives of which he is becoming aware are steadily being formulated by him into thoughts with their appropriated thought forms, and upon these he learns to draw as he seeks to serve his fellowmen… He finds himself in possession of a reservoir or pool of thought-substance which is the result of his own mental activity, of his innate receptivity, and which provides the material for teaching and the ‘fount of knowledge’ upon which he can draw when he seeks to aid other people… sensitivity to impression is a normal and natural unfoldment, paralleling spiritual development… Sensitivity to impression involves the engendering of a magnetic aura upon which the highest impressions can play.” [Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, page 94]

“The Science of Impression… functions through… Humanity [as] radiatory sensitivity.” [The Rays and the Initiations, page 371]

“In studying the subject of radiatory activity, we are dealing with the effect produced by the inner essence as it makes its presence felt through the form, when the form has been brought to a stage of such refinement that it becomes possible… When this realisation is applied to all the forms in all the kingdoms, it will be found possible to bridge the gaps existing between the different forms of life, and the ‘elements’ in every kingdom, and those unifying radiating centres will be found.” [A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, page 1062]

In these turbulent times of change we are challenged to extend our sensitive reach in order to apprehend the underlying truths and guard their emergence into human hearts and minds from whence they may radiate throughout the world. Let us listen to the new thought currents and the new vision they carry.

“Indeed, sensitivity is an inherent quality, but it depends upon the purity of one’s consciousness. Even in the best instances, it must be developed, or more precisely, called forth from the depths of consciousness… Everyone will find within himself his own obstacles; some will be impeded by laziness, some by lack of faith, some by the bustle of daily life. Everyone is hindered by something, but the power of will can overcome anything… Nor should one indulge in wishful thinking, for this encourages one to rely on illusions… Amidst the most ordinary routines of life, one can find opportunities for the sharpening of one’s sensitivity equal to those available in the best laboratories. The Thinker taught,
Supermundane worlds send us the subtlest sensations; let us learn to be receptive to them.”
[Supermundane III, verse 573]

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The Secret Life of Plants

Into the Light

When I was a young boy going to school at Saint Edwards Christian Brothers College in Gosford I would attend roll call every morning in the assembly ground. Afterwards, as other students wandered into their classrooms, I quietly made my way to the nearby lake which was surrounded by lush trees – and stay there for the remainder of the day, propped up against a tree reading books.

In the early seventies, along with John Witzig and David Elfick, we started the first surfing newspaper – Tracks – and a regular feature was book reviews. Every month in the mail we would receive new releases from publishers for review. It was always an exciting moment to open the mail and see the various titles. On one occasion, Peter Tompkin’s book, The Secret Life of Plants jumped into my hands. To this day I can’t remember others titles that arrived during those heady first few years of publishing, but The Secret Life of Plants was a fascinating read and remained in my mind. Over the past few months I have been reading it again. A lot has happened since then and now.

I also managed to keep a select number of vinyls from that time, records and music concert reviews being another popular segment in the paper. One of the titles was Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants – an album I treasure along with a few Dylan and Neil Young albums.

The Secret Life of Plants was a momentous publication of its time, bringing to the public’s attention the idea that plants were, well, more than just plants – they had feelings and intelligence. Tompkins gives numerous examples of this in his incredibly detailed and well-researched book.

At the time the new economic order was in full swing and with the scent of prosperity in their pockets, the government of the day (then and now) along with big business were shifting into fast-forward exploitation of the forests, mining the beaches and as well as supporting the whaling industry – anything to make a dollar. It was appropriate and necessary that Tracks make a stand and we became proactive in the moratoriums to stop the excessive rape of our natural heritage.

There couldn’t have been a better time for Tompkins groundbreaking book, and the revelations it encased, to be released.

As a boy living in the inner city suburb of Redfern surrounded by concrete, I would often find my way to a nearby park with incredibly large, old trees. I felt at home there and with my grandfather who grew flowers on a small patch of dirt. The seed was planted for what would become an important part of my life.

The natural plant kingdom has always had a magnetic appeal and attraction for me – now as I write I am surrounded by trees and country and books. The sound of birds and the rustle of leaves welcome my day. From the seed planted all those years ago, I now think what a privilege it is to be in this pristine environment surrounded by the various kingdoms of nature and what they offer all of us.

In the introduction of Tompkins book he reminds us that, “of the 250 billion tons of food we consume each year the bulk comes from plants” – a basic requirement for our survival on this planet.

I am also an admirer of the aboriginal culture of this country and how for thousands of years before the plundering by the white invasion and settlement, they lived in harmony with nature and understood the plant and animal kingdoms far better than most people today. A tribal elder, Bob Randall says, “Everyone needs a connection with the land. Through the land you connect with all your other family members. Trees are our family too. On my travels I meet lots of trees I don’t know, as well as lots of people – but they are all extended family.”

Tompkins book covers a lot of territory, even by today’s standards, and is just as important now as when it was first released in 1972 – probably more so now considering the increased demands placed on our environment by our burgeoning lifestyle. It is essential reading for those in power who make decisions on behalf of the natural kingdoms and our place in them. Like Rachel Carson’s classic Silent Spring, it brings to our attention aspects of the natural world that are unknown to most and overlooked by the majority.

Light Flower

It is our responsibility as custodians of this planet to seek out the knowledge and learn to live in harmony with nature rather than dominate and destroy the natural world for our own benefit… It is essential that we create balance and harmony, which is the natural order that exists in the plant kingdom. Every cell in our body is dependant upon the plant kingdom for its survival and growth.

The Secret Life of Plants not only covers the incredible diversity and uniqueness of the plant kingdom but also details how scientific research and discoveries reveal the inner world of energies and life that moves through plants and how receptive and sensitive they are towards the human kingdom, supporting as they do the very basis for our biological existence, but more importantly, supporting higher qualities until now unrecognised in the expansion of our awareness and consciousness to the greater whole of existence.

The Secret Life of Plants
By Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird

Published by Harper Perennial

Available at


The singing plants of Damanhur

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The Tree of Life

Marshmallow Tree

When we find ourselves in tranquil natural surroundings and if we listen with all our senses, physical and subtle, we might become aware of the vital life vibrating through everything – vividly sounding through insect, bird, animal and fish; humming through grass, plants, vines and trees; resonating deeply in earth, rock, mineral and crystal; sparkling through dew drops, rain and streams and seething through rivers and oceans. All seems fluidly alive with a shared frisson of vitality. It’s almost as though we can hear the vital, excited dance of sub-atomic particles that appear and reappear anywhere and everywhere throughout the living energetic web they weave through everything. It can be overwhelming – like a great feast that is way too much to consume all at once – except that the kindness of time and space allows us to taste, know, digest, become nourished and vitalised without drowning in the inconceivable.

What is this all-pervasive livingness we’re in? What is the “human” role in it all? Even at the fundamental physical and energetic level we share the same pool of atomic life and energy with all other forms of the natural world. In The Miracle of Trees Olavi Huikari tells us that we share 50% of our DNA with trees. In our essential, symbiotic, life-sharing relationship with the plant kingdom it absorbs our out-breath (carbon dioxide) as we absorb its out-breath (oxygen). We are intimately interrelated. We consume and are nourished by plant, animal, earth and water and in turn contribute to their living as the One Life we share breathes through us all and directs the cyclic flow of livingness – cycles within cycles within cycles…

Nothing exists in isolation from this one great flow of life. It is an illusion to think so. Yet there is great diversity – between the kingdoms, within the kingdoms and inside every unit. Even the many parts of our physical body coordinate together sharing the blood flow and neural network yet each performing its unique role within that whole (or “ring-pass-not” of integrating intention). Right relationship enables the optimum life and activity of each part, individually and freely performing its own function in the purpose for which the whole system was initiated. We might see illness or dis-ease as ensuing when any part tries to either intrude beyond its role within that purpose or fails to perform. The sensitive calibration of each part within the whole ensures the persistence of the whole – and of each atomic part within greater and greater wholes. The tiniest element is as critical as the universe within which it lives, moves and has its being.

As this pervasive reality sinks into consciousness a newer and subtle discernment emerges. This drives along new thought-lines that are subtly yet powerfully different to earlier human thinking and its resultant expression and impact in the world. Have we participated in our true role in this life-sharing system? Have we supported or hindered its mighty purpose? Have we come to the end of the resources allowed for our self-initiated learning and do we need to acknowledge the lessons and re-orientate into alignment with the great Life we share?

Such a reorientation has far-reaching significance for every unit. Do we apprehend life from an organic, cooperative, appreciative perspective or do we follow past habits of authoritative demand and imposition or whatever it takes to assert the individual existence at the expense of any and all else? Do we approach dis-ease with blame and exclusion or with loving understanding – with problem-focussed judgement or with solution-focussed enquiry? Do we seek to change the world according to our preferred (deemed “superior”) view or do we listen to the contribution of all the realms (both material and subtle) in the unfolding vision and co-creation of the future? Are we attuned to the subtle exchange and sharing of energy, of knowing and of living thought or do we react to surface formulations, theories and words?

Bird in Hand
There is a subtle shift rippling through human consciousness from a sense of isolated being and living (the instinctual nature of our animal forms) into a sense of attuned interrelatedness with the greater life pervading all things. It is so subtle that while part of our awareness may be apprehending it, yet older habitual living may still direct activity. Hence the new may be seen theoretically but not as a living impulse into expression. We are finding that this “new” is so different that current words and theories are insufficient to convey it. It expands into a completely different and far more “human” identity that is greater, subtler than all previous understanding and yet incorporates all preceding steps within its unfoldment. It is the first glimmering of a sense of being within a whole which is far more complete, vital, alive and glorious than we might have conceived. We may have caught glimpses in moments of deep meditation or in extreme circumstances such as the so-called Near Death Experience as described in these excerpts from Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander:

“… Up there a question would arise in my mind, and the answer would arise at the same time, like a flower coming up right next to it. It was almost as if, just as no physical particle in the universe is really separate from another, so in the same way there was no such thing as a question without an accompanying answer. These answers were not simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ fare, either. They were vast conceptual edifices, staggering structures of living thought, as intricate as cities. Ideas so vast they would have taken me lifetimes to find my way around if I had been confined to earthly thought. But I wasn’t. I had sloughed off that earthly style of thought like a butterfly breaking from a chrysalis.”

“… I could see that the earth was a place where good and evil mixed, and that this constituted one of its unique features. Even on Earth there is much more good than evil, but earth is a place where evil is allowed to gain influence in a way that would be entirely impossible at higher levels of existence. That evil could occasionally have the upper hand was known and allowed by the Creator as a necessary consequence of giving the gift of free will to beings like us… Small particles of evil were scattered throughout the universe, but the sum total of all evil was as a grain of sand on a vast beach compared to goodness, abundance, hope, and unconditional love in which the universe was literally awash. The very fabric of the alternate dimension is love and acceptance, and anything that does not have these qualities appears immediately and obviously out of place there.”

“… But free will comes at a cost of a loss or falling-away from this love and acceptance. We are free; but we are free beings hemmed in all around by an environment conspiring to make us feel that we are not free. Free will is of central importance in the earthly realm: a function that, we will all one day discover, serves the much higher role of allowing our ascendance in the timeless alternate dimension. Our life down here may seem insignificant, for it is minute in relation to the other lives and other worlds that also crowd the invisible and visible universes. But it is also hugely important, for our role here is to grow towards the Divine, and that growth is closely watched by the beings in the world above… Our truest deepest self is completely free. It is not crippled or compromised by past actions or concerned with identity or status. It comprehends that it has no need to fear the earthly world, and therefore, it has no need to build itself up through fame or wealth or conquest.”

“… I saw the abundance of life throughout the countless universes, including some whose intelligence was advanced far beyond that of humanity. I saw that there were countless higher dimensions, but that the only way to know these dimensions is to enter and experience them directly. They cannot be known or understood, from lower dimensional space.
… Deep down we already know. Just as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz always had the capability to return home, we have the ability to recover our connection with that idyllic realm. We just forget that we do, because during the brain-based, physical portion of our existence, our brain blocks out, or veils, that larger cosmic background, just as the sun’s light blocks the stars from view each morning. Imagine how limited our view of the universe would be if we never saw the star-spangled nighttime sky.
… In order to return to that realm, we must once again become like that realm, even while we are stuck in, and plodding through, this one.”

And so we journey on to “the newer and sacred art of being and the wonder of living as a soul” [A Treatise on White Magic, page 420] so that the greater Life might unfold through us.

“When the sun progresses into the mansion of the serving man, the way of life takes the place of the way of work.
Then the tree of life grows until its branches shelter all the sons of men.
The building of the Temple and the carrying of the stones cease. The growing trees are seen; the buildings disappear.
Let the sun pass into its appointed place, and in this day and generation attend ye to the roots of growth.”
[A Treatise on White Magic, page 426]

From Sydney Goodwill Newsletter – February

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